If you think that you are a good person here is what God says:
· “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any
that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 53:2,3)
· “For there is not
a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes
Can doing good works save you?
· “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians
Do you think that you are a righteous (upright, moral, virtuous) person?
Here is how God sees all of our righteousnesses:
· “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”
What does God say about praying to statues, shrines...?
· “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image,
neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 26:1)
· “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn
away your faces from all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 14:6)
· “Neither shalt
thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou
shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” (Deuteronomy
What does God say about repeating prayers?
· “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be
heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)
Who is the only Mediator?
· “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Tim. 2:5)
Mary consider herself sinless?
· Mary acknowledged her need of a Savior: “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Who can forgive sins?
· “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”
Is it your responsibility to study the Bible?
invites us personally: “Come now, and let
us reason together, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18)
· “Study to shew
thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
should interpret/teach you the Bible?
· “But the Comforter, which is the Holy
Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things”
What will you say to God on the Day of Judgment?
· “every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)
How will you stand before a Holy God
on the Day of Judgment?
· “And I saw a great
white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for
them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book
was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according
to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast
into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the
lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
this all came about:
· Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God in the Garden of Eden.
The result is that we, their descendants, are born with a sinful nature and also commit sin ourselves.
We are sinful, unrighteous, hell-bound sinners.
· This is how Thomas Brooks put it: “But when Adam fell; we fell. When he lost all; we lost all. There are five things we lost
in our fall: Our holy image - and so became vile; Our divine sonship - and so became children of Satan;
Our friendship with God - and so became His enemies; Our communion with God - and so became strangers; Our happiness - and
so became miserable.” (A Cabinet of Choice Jewels,
or, A Box of Precious Ointment, 1669)
Hell was prepared for Satan and his demons;
and those people who do not repent (make a 180° turn
from the ‘broad way leading to destruction’ [Matthew
7:13] to the “narrow” “way of salvation” [Matthew
7:14; Acts 16:17]) and believe the Gospel and who are not “begotten of God” (‘born
again’) (1 John 5:18) will also perish forever “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”
(Mark 9:44) and where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:13).
in His great mercy has prepared a way back to Himself for those who repent and believe, who want to take Him as Lord, and
· The Lord Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and
thus didn’t inherit man’s sinful nature. Thus, the Lord Jesus, God in the flesh, could shed
his blood (Matthew 26:28) and die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, because “...without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness of sins]”
(Hebrews 9:22) “That whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15).
· The Bible says if we don't
repent we will perish forever (Luke 13:3). God “commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30)
The Bible says: "repent ye, and believe
the gospel." (Mark 1:15)
Biblical repentance and Holy Spirit wrought conviciton of sin:
· Conviction of sin is a spiritual illumination wrought by the Holy Spirit in my heart that not only have I sinned, and that against God (Psalm
51:4), but that my very being is sin. Knowing intellectually that
I was born a sinner and have committed sins because of my sinful nature is not conviciton of sin. Repentance is a determination of the will to turn one's
heart from sin to God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Repentance is to start obeying God. Repentance requires action:
it is sins acknowledged, despised and abandoned. It is making restitution for wrongs. Repentance is to surrender to God,
an admission that God is holy and right while I am a lost sinner; it is a commitment to live a new life.
Repentance is a self declared sinner's cry to God for mercy. Repentance is “Godly sorrow” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
for sin. Repenting of individual sins and being very sorry for the consequences and reforming, without
the Holy Spirit’s conviction, illumination
of the root of the problem, and without “repentance toward God” (Acts 20:21)
is ‘worldly sorrow’ that still leads one to hell (2 Corinthians 7:10).
· “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh
them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Thomas
Brooks writes: “It argues horrid hypocrisy, damnable folly, and astonishing impudency - for a man
to beg the pardon for those very sins that he is resolved never to forsake! Look! He who has not repented of all known sin,
he has not yet sincerely repented of any known sin, nor as yet experienced the sweetness of forgiveness of sin.”
(A Cabinet of Choice Jewels, or, A Box of Precious
Without Holy Spirit wrought conviction and without
repentance salvation is impossible, since repentance must precede God’s forgiveness of sins and God’s gift of
faith. And it is only by faith that we can receive God’s gift of salvation, by the new birth, by
the Holy Spirit of God.
Do you know that the Bible also says that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom
of God.” (John
· Being 'born again' means ‘to be begotten’ ‘to be conceived’. It is not simply a label, but a reality. Regeneration
is God making a (spiritually) dead person alive (Ephesians 2:1). It is God’s work; God’s miraculous
work in the heart: “Which were born, not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John
his own will begat he us with the word of truth,” (James 1:18). It is receiving a new (divine) nature from God, having the Holy Spirit come to dwell in your heart.
(This can only happen to someone whom the Holy Spirit convicts and who obeys God’s
command to repent “toward
20:21].) The Bible calls this
becoming a “new creature”
(2 Corinthians 5:17). This is not make believe. The Holy Spirit will assure you of His
presence, as you obey the Lord, as promised in the Bible: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"
· Faith is not something that can be ‘worked up’. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) Faith is a gift to a repentant heart.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who works faith (which in this case is the ability to receive the inner testimony/assurance of the Holy Spirit that my sins are forgiven
and that I have become a child of God) in a person: “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews
12:2). Faith is a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Galations 5:22).
It is impossible to believe (savingly) without faith. Habakkuk 2:4 says: “...the just shall live by his faith.” I need the faith of
the Lord Jesus Christ in me in order to be able to believe in Him.
creating a new nature in me and the gift of the Holy Spirit is free; however salvation costs me my old life as well as my
old Self. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).
Do you know why the new birth is absolutely necessary?
· A man “cannot see
the kingdom of God” except that man “be born again” (John 3:3). There is no holiness without regeneration.
It is "the new man, which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness.," (Eph. 4:24). And no heaven without holiness; for without "holiness... no man shall see the Lord:"
(Heb. 12:14). Will the Lord Jesus prepare mansions of glory for those who refuse to receive him into their
hearts and walk on His way of salvation here on earth? Will the old sinful nature, Satan’s image,
gain entry to heaven? "And there shall in
no wise enter into it any thing that defileth" (Revelation 21:27).
It is only the Lord’s image through the new birth, His nature, the “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17), the “heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26) that
is acceptable to God. At the gates of heaven the question will be: “Whose image and superscription hath it?” (Luke 20:24) And if the answer is ‘Satan’s’, than the soul will be rendered to
· Heaven is not
the sensual paradise that sinners make it out to be. Those who are not born from above, who are not “strangers and pilgrims on the earth”
(Hebrews 11:13), would not be at home there since every corner is filled with what they least like —holiness, true holiness,
· Without having gone through the new birth all of my attempts to please God are but religious motions and exercises;
reformations and good works.
· While on earth a born again person is ‘stuck’ with his old nature, since he lives in a sinful body.
So, the born again person has two natures—his old nature and his new nature. It is like he is a semi-detached house.
Because of this the born again person is in a constant warfare: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds
of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13); “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy
points in this section adapted from Human Nature in its Fourfold
State, Thomas Boston [1676 - 1732])
Eternal Life is IN a Person (the Lord
John 1:2 says “That which was from the beginning, which we
have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the
Father, and was manifested unto us;)” Note that it says "that eternal life”, the Lord Jesus Christ.
· Eternal life is not in the letter of the Scripture; it is not
simply intellectually believing a specific Biblical teaching, for “the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19). Life is in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:4). He said “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25).
· Eternal Life is not
only something a person can be received into after death. It is a fellowship that he must be received into
now here on earth, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ living in his heart. Also, he must continue to
“hold fast” (Hebrews
3:6) until he dies; or he will not enter into “rest” (Hebrews 4:11).
· The Bible pictures the Lord Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom (Luke 5:35) and the church (born again believers) as the
bride. The “marriage supper of the Lamb (the Lord Jesus)” will take place in heaven (Revelation 19:9).
· A born again believer becomes one spirit with the Lord Jesus, the Heavenly Bridegroom:
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17) The Bridegroom can only save His bride; he cannot
save strangers. If you don’t know Him now as a personal internal reality, than He will say to you
“I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23) on that day. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:” (1 John
5:10). If one doesn’t have “the witness
in himself”, than if he believes in God and believes the Bible’s teachings
he is believing the way that the devils do (James 2:19).
Does this all seem very mysterious?
· “God will speak to the hearts of those who prepare themselves to hear” (Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, p. 21) The Lord Jesus spoke
in parables and similarly everything is hid and revealed only to the seeking honest heart by the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit,
who inspired/wrote the Bible in the first place.
· “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
- God will not
teach the man who is not willing to obey.
- God will not satisfy the merely curious.
- God reveals Himself to a humble, repentant, seeking
heart, who wants to take Him as Lord and wants to be His obedient servant.
· The willingness to obey what we
are taught must be there: “Teach
me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth” (Psalm 86:11).
· Salvation requires a preparation of the life:
“break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek
the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12); “to him that ordereth his conversation [manner of living] aright will I shew the
salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
· “Salvation belongeth unto to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8), the new birth is “of God” (John 1:13) and we can't
receive it unless it is given (“A man can receive nothing,
except it be given him from heaven.” [John 3:27]). And it is
freely given, but only given and the ability to receive it given once the conditions (seek, repent – start obeying)
are met and the Holy Spirit’s preparatory work of convicting (John 16:8) is complete and it's ALL by God's grace.
· “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9) There is no salvation apart from obedience. And the Lord
Jesus Christ is the Author of salvation. The Lord must ‘write’ it so to speak, but He can only
work in us as we respond by obedience. The Lord does nothing against our will.
· The Lord Jesus said “without me ye
can do nothing” (John 15:5). Being “begotten of God” (‘born again’)
(1 John 5:18) is not a step-by-step plan on a tract. It is God’s work. A miracle.
One can’t call up to God and ‘get saved’ by repeating a prayer. The Holy Spirit
works in hearts and brings to conviction and repentance and to the ‘new birth’ (miracle), those who respond to
God. It’s all mystery. John 3:8 compares the ‘new birth’ with the
blowing of the wind - we can’t see it, don’t know where it came from, where it’s going... (“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst
not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”)
· Being “begotten of God” (‘born again’)
(1 John 5:18), being given and receiving forgiveness, the gift of the Holy Spirit, being made a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) is free; but costs
me my old life and my old Self. Everything must go on the altar. The Lord Jesus Christ
said: “If any man will come after me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke
· It is possible for
one to say to himself “Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:11; Ezekiel 13:10) One
must be careful not to preach ‘peace’ to his own soul, thereby deceiving
himself, but to wait until the Lord does so (for
it is His work as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness,” [Revelation 3:14]).
“Let no man deceive himself.” (1 Corinthians 3:18): The Bible doesn’t offer a ‘plan’
of salvation (like an insurance policy); but a “way of salvation” (Acts 16:17) which one must enter into through the Door (“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” [John 10:7]) the only possible Way (“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” [John 14:6]) and then
“walk in it” (2 John 1:6) ; “Fight[ing]
the good fight of
faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) and “hold[ing] fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:6).
is every individual’s responsibility to study the Bible and pray for the Holy Spirit’s illumination of what he
· “[The Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
(Acts 17:11) God invites us personally: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD”
- Pray that God would convict you of your sins and your unrighteousness and of the judgment to come (John 16:8); and that
you are lost and will perish.
- Seek the Lord. (Matthew 6:33)
- Pray for the “fear
of the Lord”, as it “is
the beginning of knowledge”. (Prov 1:7)
- Pray to have your eyes and ears opened to God’s Truth.
- Pray that God would open the eyes of your understanding. (Luke 24:45)
- Pray that you would see yourself
as God sees you (dead in sin). (Ephesians 2:1)
- Pray that God would make you hate sin and love holiness.
- Pray to have a hunger and thirst
for righteousness. (Matthew 5:6)
- Pray for a “broken
heart” and a “contrite
spirit” (Psalm 34:18; 51:17)
- Repent. Make a 180°. Turn
from known sin in your life.
- Pray with an obedient heart; pray for a willingness to obey.
- Start obeying whatever the Lord shows you.
- Pray for the gift of faith.
- Pray that God would make you a “new creature” (2 Cor 5:17)
- Pray for the miracle of being “begotten of God” (‘born again’) (1 John 5:18)
- Read God’s Word (the Bible)
and ask the Lord to illuminate It for you and teach you in your heart.
- And if you don't feel like it, set your will and seek the Lord
anyway and pray that you would want to seek God and that the Lord would find you and that you would find the Lord Jesus Christ.
* all Scripture quotations from the KJV